Plans are well underway for the Universities Week 2014, which is taking place from 9-15 June. It all seems a far cry from the pilot campaign we ran back in 2010, with next year’s campaign shaping up to be our most ambitious to date.
Public engagement is at the heart of what we’re planning next year and we’re extremely excited about teaming up with a national museum for the first time, namely the Natural History Museum. Just as the BUCS championships at the Olympics Stadium were a great culmination for Universities Week 2012, we hope the Natural History Museum will provide an equally great focal point next year. Based on the 74 universities which applied to feature at the Museum, the signs are that it will be, and we’ve had a wide range of public engagement activities proposed, all across a range of institutions and subject areas. In addition to the Natural History Museum event, we’re encouraging universities to organise events at a local level too, with both sets of activities being underpinned by a campaign in the national, regional media and social media. University museums will be playing an important role next year too as they are often an entry point for public engagement with university research, and we’re working closely with the University Museums Group here.
The theme for Universities Week 2014 is the everyday impact of university research, which will sit under the banner ‘Ideas for life’. As part of the public engagement element to the campaign we’ve already surveyed the public about the issues they want solving in the areas of science & technology, the environment, culture, health & wellbeing, and society. And in the run-up to Universities Week 2014 we’ll be demonstrating how university research is working to address those challenges.
Today we’ve launched the website, which we hope to build on in the coming months, including a facility to upload local events, and we’ve also published a toolkit for universities to help with their plans. We want to provide as much support as possible to universities wishing to participate next June, so if there’s something you’d find helpful please let us know as we may be able to include it. For now though, we’ve produced a toolkit to support the planning of activities, and a suite of branding materials and logos, including templates for banners, posters and web and Facebook displays.
We’ve also announced free public engagement training workshops with the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, which are scheduled to take place next February and March. The workshops will be open to anyone organising something for Universities Week – whether that be at a local level or at the Natural History Museum event.